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SCCJR Report on Developing Sentencing & Penal Policy

An excellent report from the SCCJR which is aimed at policymakers highlights key concerns for Scottish penal reformers.

  • More people in prison in Scotland are there for remand (awaiting trial or awaiting sentence) than to serve a custodial sentence.
  • For every woman sentenced to prison in Scotland, two women are sent to prison on remand.
  • This in part can explain why Scotland’s imprisonment rate has increased so drastically in the last 15 years.

Policy suggestions:

  • The report argues that to stem the overreliance on imprisonment in Scotland courts should make greater use of community sentences, which is a more productive and meaningful punishment as it ‘involves making good to the victim and/or the community'.
  • We need to highlight the extent of the remand problem.
  • Engage with the public and increase public confidence in the criminal justice system.

 

Read the report here: SCCJR, Prisons and Sentencing Reform: Developing Policy in Scotland

Women in Prison in Scotland, SCCCJ Report

A briefing paper from the SCCCJ, Women in Prison in Scotland: An Unmet Commitment, opens with a challenging comparison between the aspirational and reformative political rhetoric on women in prison on one hand, and on the other, the steady annual increase of women incarcerated in Scotland. The increased use of custodial sentences for women in Scotland is perplexing because it does not reflect increases in serious levels of criminality. Instead, women tend to be cycled through prison on short sentences. Short sentences offer little time to engage in rehabilitative programmes. Instead, short sentences serve to sever important personal bonds links with communities and families as well as economic responsibilities to work, meaning that many women lose their homes while in prison. 

The report provides a useful overview of the characteristics of women in prison, statistically illustrating their destructive mental health and addiction problems and their lack of social capital in general.

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